Netherlands latest EU country hit by summer event ban
There will be no festivals in the Netherlands this summer, as the Dutch government imposes a ban on all large-scale events until 1 September.
The move follows similar decisions taken in some of Europe’s biggest festival markets including Germany, Belgium and Denmark, where events are banned until 31 August, as well as slightly shorter bans in France (mid-July) Austria (end of June) and Luxembourg (31 July), and is in line with European Union guidance.
The government in the Netherlands had previously stated public events were not permitted until 1 June, affecting festivals including DGTL Amsterdam, Awakenings Easter and Dauwpop.
The extended ban has resulted in the calling off of major festivals organised by Live Nation’s Mojo Concerts, Friendly Fire – part of the CTS Eventim-owned FKP Scorpio group – and dance music giant ID&T.
“We all saw it coming, but the hammer has finally fallen: there will be no Lowlands this summer,” reads a statement on the Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise (Lowlands) website, set to take place from 21 to 23 August with performances from Stormzy, the Chemical Brothers, Foals and Liam Gallagher.
“Like you, we are heartbroken. All we can do now is look to the future and promise you that we’ll make Lowlands 2021 an all-out party beyond your wildest dreams.”
“Like you, we are heartbroken. All we can do now is look to the future and promise you that we’ll make Lowlands 2021 an all-out party beyond your wildest dreams”
Mojo-promoted Lowlands is part of the Netherlands’ ‘Save your ticket, enjoy later’ campaign, supported by the Dutch government and competition watchdog ACM, encouraging fans to hang on to tickets for a later date, rather than request refunds.
Lowlands will return from 20 to 22 August 2021.
Fellow Mojo festivals, Pinkpop (Guns N Roses, Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Down the Rabbit Hole (Tyler the Creator, Disclosure, FKA Twigs), North Sea Jazz Festival (Alicia Keys, John Legend, Lionel Richie) and Woo Hah! (Kendrick Lamar, Asap Ferg, Aitch) have all moved to 2021 following the ban.
The cancellation of the 8th edition of Friendly Fire’s Best Kept Secret, which had a line-up including the Strokes, the National and Massive Attack, is a “massive blow”, say organisers.
“This news has an enormous impact on our festival and everyone involved. For us it makes an enormous difference if you decide to stay with us in 2021. By doing so, you’ll help secure the foundation of Best Kept Secret so that we can organise a fantastic edition for you next year.”
Best Kept Secret returns from 11 to 13 June 2021.
Netherlands-based dance music promoter ID&T has also had a number of events affected by the extended ban. The group states “we will do everything in our power to find an alternative date for all concerned events,” with the 2021 dates for festival including Defqon.1, Awakenings, Mysteryland and Amsterdam Open Air already announced.
Futureproofing festival wristbands: Dutchband Q&A
The festival wristband industry has seen significant innovation in recent years, as suppliers have incorporated payment solutions and anti-counterfeit measures, as well as experimenting with ever more sustainable and durable materials.
For over 17 years, Dutchband, the largest supplier of event wristbands and consumption tokens in the Netherlands, has provided fraud-resistant, user-friendly and efficient wristband and payment solutions to over 1,000 events worldwide.
IQ checks in with Dutchband managing director Michiel Fransen to discover how the company is keeping gatecrashers out and making products more eco-friendly, as well as finding out what lengths the team will go to in order to ensure speedy wristband delivery.
IQ: Can you give me a brief description of who Dutchband are and what work you do?
Michiel Fransen: Dutchband has been active in the wristband and cashless payment business for close to two decades. Initially started as one of the first companies to use digital printing technology for wristband production, we have also introduced other innovations such as our unique payment tokens, vending machines, point-of-sale (POS) terminals and, of course, our high security SealStation solution (pictured), a semi automatic machine that seals wristbands on fans safely, quickly and comfortably.
We are proud to work with many of the bigger festivals in Europe. Festivals like Solidays and Fete de l’Humanité in France, the UK’s Download and WeAreFSTVL, German festival Rock am Ring, Poland’s Open’er, Lowlands in the Netherlands, Paleo in Switzerland and the Defqon1 and Mysteryland franchises all have used our solutions for either access-control wristbands or cashless payment.
We have seen an influx of new kinds of festival wristbands entering the market in recent years. What sets Dutchband apart from other companies working in the sector?
We differentiate ourselves mainly by always looking for ways to improve on the products that are currently offered in the market. We do this not only in terms of the physical properties of the products themselves, but also by exceeding customer expectations when it comes to service and reliability as a supplier.
There are quite a few cases where festivals have contacted us just before, or even during an event, to arrange delivery of additional wristbands or payment tokens. We understand the importance of helping out our customers in these cases and will do everything to arrange timely delivery, even if it means that one of our team has to jump on a plane to do so.
In terms of new developments, what are the most exciting innovations that Dutchband has implemented in recent years?
What I’m really excited about is our new range of wristbands, made entirely from organic and recycled materials. This perfectly matches our ambition to help our customers further reduce their environmental footprint. This means we can now offer sustainable alternatives for our entire product range, from SealStation wristbands made out of recycled soda bottles, to payment tokens produced from our own production waste.
Being more sustainable is the top of the priority list for many working in the live event industry, what do you believe are the other main challenges facing the wristband sector today and how is Dutchband tackling them?
The biggest challenge is to keep outsmarting the counterfeiters (and cheeky visitors) trying to get into the event for free. I believe that with our fully tamperproof, closureless SealStation wristband, we can really help festivals tackle this problem.
This foolproof design applies not only to our higher-end solutions but – and this is quite unique for this industry – even to our most basic Tyvek wristbands, made out of a plastic fibre that resembles paper, as a standard come with overt and covert anti-counterfeiting measures.
Looking to the future, what does Dutchband hope to achieve?
We keep on innovating to bring sustainable, reliable and easy-to-implement payment and accreditation products to the leading festivals of the world. Just like in the Netherlands, we want to be the people to call globally if you need a good solution and you need it now.
ID&T Group announces management reshuffle
Electronic music giant ID&T Group has adopted a one-tier board structure for 2020, as the company’s former COO Ritty van Straalen succeeds Wouter Tavecchio as CEO.
Tavecchio, who founded hardcore promoter Q-Dance in 2000, became CEO of ID&T Group following a merger of the two companies in 2006. He now serves as the chairman of ID&T Group’s board of directors.
Ushered in on 1 January, the changes also see ID&T co-founder Duncan Stutterheim return to the company as a non-executive board member. Stutterheim founded ID&T in 1992, selling the business to the late Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment in 2013.
Stutterheim comments that it is “the right moment to return to the group in a completely different capacity and support the new generation.”
In addition to his role as Q-Dance creative director, Jonas Schmidt joins ID&T Group’s management team as chief creative officer, completing the team along with Bastiaan Heuft, Martijn van Daalen, Michael Guntenaar and Rosanne Janmaat.
“With the new management team, we start 2020 with the strongest setup possible”
“It was a great honour to operate as the head of this dynamic company for almost 15 years and in good faith I am passing on the baton,” says Tavecchio. “With the new management team, we start 2020 with the strongest setup possible and are poised for a bright future for all the brands and people that are part of the ID&T group.”
CEO van Straalen adds that the changes allow the team to “guarantee the creativity of ID&T for the long-term future”.
The management shake-up follows December’s appointment of former Tomorrowland Brazil booker Edo van Duijn to director of music.
The ID&T Group includes the companies b2s, ID&T Events, Q-dance, Monumental (Awakenings), Air Events, Art of Dance and VD Events. ID&T organises approximately 80 events a year, including festivals such as Mysteryland, Amsterdam Open Air, Vunzige Deuntjes, Thunderdome, Defqon.1 Weekend Festival, Awakenings, Decibel Outdoor and Masters of Hardcore.
ID&T appoints Edo van Duijn as music director
Electronic music promoter ID&T has named Edo van Duijn as its new music director, as the company prepares for a new series of global touring events in 2020.
Van Duijn, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry, will lead the music team for curating and booking events across the ID&T portfolio, including flagship brands Mysteryland, Sensation, Welcome to the Future and Amsterdam Open Air.
The new ID&T music director has a long history with the promoter, which was formerly part of SFX Entertainment (now LiveStyle), having founded sister company Plus Network in Brazil and programmed festivals such as Tomorrowland Brazil and Electric Zoo São Paulo.
He also leads ID&T’s Headliner Entertainment team, which focuses on artist management and special projects centred around artist brand activations.
Over the last decade van Duijn has toured South America with the likes of Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, Afrojack, Steve Angello, Axwell and Nicky Romero, and worked on brand collaborations with Samsung, Nike and Red Bull.
“Not only are our established brands performing exceptionally, but we’re now focused on creating new event experiences for our fans”
Van Duijn has also helped to launch the careers artists including DJ Marky, Bruno Martini and Alok and co-produced festivals such as Skolbeats and Nokia Trends.
“This is an exciting time to be part of the incredible music team at ID&T,” says van Duijn. “Not only are our established brands such as Mysteryland performing exceptionally, but we’re now focused on creating new event experiences for our fans and building stronger ties with the artist and agency community.”
ID&T’s COO, Ritty van Straalen, adds: “Edo is well known in this industry for his eye for talent and music, and has great relationships with the artists, agents and managers. For me it was a no-brainer to ask him back and guide ID&T to the next chapter in electronic music.”
Founded in 1992, ID&T organises around 80 events a year, attracting more than one million visitors annually. The ID&T Group includes the companies b2s, ID&T Events, Q-dance, Monumental (Awakenings), AIR and events such as Milkshake, Thunderdome, Defqon.1 Weekend Festival, Qlimax, Awakenings, Decibel Outdoors and Masters of Hardcore.
The ID&T Group also encompasses hard dance booking agencies Platinum Agency and Most Wanted DJ, as well as management agency Headliner Entertainment.
Randy Phillips steps down as LiveStyle CEO
Randy Phillips, the man who helped to salvage SFX Entertainment post LiveStyle rebrand, is stepping down as the company’s chief executive, as first reported by Billboard.
Phillips will stay on at LiveStyle as a consultant to investors, as the company prepares to sell off several of its assets.
The former LiveStyle boss will now focus on managing US boy band Why Don’t We, whom he states “are really starting to take off”.
Phillips took over the running of Robert Sillerman-founded SFX Entertainment in early 2017. The company had become insolvent two years after launching and Phillips was brought onboard to turn it around as the company emerged from bankruptcy. He led the dance music behemoth, rebranded as LiveStyle, for three years.
In just one year, Phillips turned losses of US$30 million into earnings of $20m.
Randy Phillips, the man who helped to salvage SFX Entertainment post LiveStyle rebrand, is stepping down as the company’s chief executive
“I was given my mission and I fulfilled my mission,” says Phillips. Under his leadership, LiveStyle sold assets including Paylogic to Vivendi and a minority stake in Rock in Rio to Live Nation and axed the US-leg of festival Mysteryland.
During Phillips’ tenure, LiveStyle made a number of high-profile hires, including Hard Events founder Gary Richards (president, North America), ex-Universal Music Group executive Chris Monaco (chief revenue officer) and NRG Productions founder Neil Ryan (senior vice president and head of North America production).
Prior to his work at LiveStyle, Phillips served as chief executive of AEG Live.
LiveStyle produces dance music festivals including Electric Zoo, Defqon.1 and Awakenings, operating through promoters and entertainment companies including Made Event and All My Friends in the United States, ID&T in the Netherlands and majority DEAG-owned I-Motion in Germany.
SFX founder Sillerman was recently charged with fraud in relation to his online publishing business, Function(x).
Drugs deaths could signal end for Oz Defqon.1 fest
State authorities in New South Wales are calling for dance festival Defqon.1 to be banned after two people died from suspected drugs overdoses and hundreds more had to seek medical help for drug-related problems.
Joseph Pham, 23, from Sydney was named as one of the victims, while an as yet unnamed 21-year-old woman from Melbourne also died. There have been other deaths at the Sydney festival in 2013 and 2015.
Police in the state report that 13 people required hospital treatment, with three people still in a critical condition, while on site, 700 revellers were seen by medics at the festival. The situation prompted NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian to brand the event as unsafe and call for it to be banned from ever taking place in Sydney again.
Organisers Q-Dance Australia say they are cooperating with the authorities. The company’s website outlines its zero tolerance drug policy and carries warnings such as, “We want to make you aware that the use of illicit substances carries a range of health risks including the possibility of death, and is strictly forbidden at this event.”
Despite this and informing the 30,000 visitors that there would be “a strong police, drug dog and security presence upon entry into the event to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the warnings apparently went unheeded, prompting drug testing advocates to slam government officials for their ‘head in the sand’ approach to dealing with drugs use.
“We still have young people dying needlessly because we’re doing the same old thing over and over again and we have the mechanisms that we know keep people alive.”
“I’m absolutely aghast at what has occurred,” Berejiklian said in a statement. “I don’t want any family to go through the tragedy that some families are waking up to this morning. It’s just horrible to think about.” She added, “This is an unsafe event and I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure it never happens again.”
However, Berejiklian’s ‘just say no’ stance on drugs has been criticised as dangerous, while the government’s policies on drugs has been labelled as ineffective by doctors and campaigners.
Kieran Palmer of the Ted Noffs Foundation, told morning TV show Today the deaths made it clear the government’s approach of “just say no” is not working. “The difficulty now that we face is that we’ve been handling this with the same approach for such a long time,” said Palmer. “We live in one of the most privileged countries in the world and we still have young people dying needlessly because we’re doing the same old thing over and over again and we have the mechanisms that we know keep people alive.”
Advocating on-site drug testing programmes, he added, “We have the evidence. Shutting down festivals, getting tough on drugs, telling kids to ‘just say no’ doesn’t work. It doesn’t change behaviour.”